Very sorry to hear of the death in Victoria yesterday of poet and painter P.K. Page.
Page, who was 93, was an extremely versatile and beloved writer. Her dozens of books won her many honours, including the Order of Canada and a Governor Generals Award. In 2004 she was the inaugural winner of the Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence.
Here is an excerpt from her poem "Planet Earth", inspired by lines from a longer poem by Pablo Neruda:
It has to be loved the way a laundress loves her linens,
the way she moves her hands caressing the fine muslins
knowing their warp and woof,
like a lover coaxing, or a mother praising.
It has to be loved as if it were embroidered
with flowers and birds and two joined hearts upon it.
It has to be stretched and stroked.
It has to be celebrated.
O this great beloved world and all the creatures in it.
It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet.
The trees must be washed, and the grasses and mosses.
They have to be polished as if made of green brass.
The rivers and little streams with their hidden cresses
and pale-coloured pebbles
and their fool's gold
must be washed and starched or shined into brightness,
the sheets of lake water
smoothed with the hand
and the foam of the oceans pressed into neatness.
It has to be ironed, the sea in its whiteness.